Casper The Friendly Ghost - Best Of Casper Volume 1
The Show - out of
Casper the Friendly Ghost may not have the commercial popularity of the Disney or Warner Bros. characters like Mickey, Daffy, Bugs or Tweety but this semi-transparent (or is it opaque) little apparition long-searching for friends has had considerable success. Created in the early 1940’s by Seymour Reit and illustrator Joe Oriolo, Casper was originally conceived as a character for a children’s storybook. With little interest in that avenue, Oriolo sold the character rights to Paramount Pictures’ Famous Studio where he appeared in his first Noveltoon, ‘The Friendly Ghost’, in 1945.
After his third Noveltoon, Paramount started a ‘Casper the Friendly Ghost’ series in 1950, running the theatrical shorts until 1959.
This ‘Best Of’ collection of those shorts represents a good sampling from that decade of Casper’s predictable, but cute escapades.
Billed as original Harveytoons Classics, these theatrical Technicolor shorts were mostly created under the ownership of Paramount before Alfred Harvey, founder and publisher of Harvey Comics (who had produced Casper comics since 1952) purchased all rights to the Casper character around 1957.
They begin in very much the same way each time, Casper slowly appears onscreen in the midst of a benign act (peeling a banana, etc) and we follow him as he searches for someone that will be his friend. Being a ghost, his choices are limited. Most are scared silly, jumping out of their clothes or having their eyes jump from their sockets before scampering off in a fright. But inevitably, Casper’s travels will bring him upon the lonely, the needy or the desperate and this friendly ghost’s kindness will help him win that soul over.
In these ten shorts, Casper saves a sad young boy’s Christmas by dismantling household products and making fun items like a train set and a rocking horse; he saves a lazy greyhound from the pound by helping him win a race; teams up with a rejected watchdog to help him find his purpose and ingeniously, skips across the comic pages to make friends with some playful groundhogs.
Casper has existed in these theatrical shorts, Comic books and even the 1995 live action/CGI film, as a cute character from the afterlife entertaining audiences the world over.
While he must occasionally fend off the misdeeds of the Ghostly Trio, a low IQ band of ‘New Jersey Mob’-like troublemakers, he mostly needs to fight his unending need to find a friend and to be a friend.
Interestingly, however, Casper’s amiable nature is subverted in one episode after the meddlesome Trio try to rid him of his kindness by force-feeding him ‘mean pills’ and the typically softhearted little ghost flirts with hints of sadism as he exacts a strange revenge upon them.
1: True Boo
Casper pretends to be Santa and makes Billy toys out of household items.
2: Boo Ribbon Winner
Casper saves a greyhound race winner from the pound.
3: Good Scream Fun
Casper finds an Ostrich, Which eats everything.
4: Fright from Wrong
The Ghostly Trio force Casper to take mean pills.
5: Zero the Hero
Casper helps a watchdog hone his sense of smell.
6: Ground Hog Play
Casper befriends groundhogs in another comic strip.
7: Boo Hoo Baby
Casper makes friends in an orphanage.
8: Spooking About Africa
Casper cures a sneezing elephant in Africa.
9: Puss ‘N Boos
Casper rescues two unwanted kittens.
10: Hide and Shriek
Cousin spooky comes to stay with Casper.
Casper’s giddy young and innocent optimism comes through the speakers a little soft but fits the time it was released.
Two bonus episodes “chosen by Casper himself”: –
Red, White and Boo
Casper uses a time machine to make friends in the past
Casper saves the Three Little Pigs from the Wolf
Good for those who hold fond memories of this friendly little ghost and worth your money if you seek a kinder, gentler, simpler cartoon for your rug rats.